Monday, December 16, 2019

A journey of courage, persistence, and hope

Maria Fernanda Benavides (also known as “Mafer”), is currently a senior at St. Mary’s Hall in San Antonio.  She is well known by many of the sisters since her mom is Martha Quiroga, the head of our Development and Communications Office. 

In the summer of 2018 Mafer volunteered at the Migrant Resource Center in downtown San Antonio reading books to the refugee children, books that would inspire them:  What do you do with a chance? What do you do with an Idea?  She then asked the children to draw pictures of their hopes and dreams.  Mafer combined the drawings into a book along with some of her own reflections and insights.  The result is literally a work of art and is entitled:   A Summer With the Butterflies: A journey of Courage, Persistence, Hope.

Some of Mafer’s goals:
*  After witnessing the positive impact that art had on refugee children, Mafer became inspired to create a non-profit dedicated to providing scholarships to refugee children in the arts so a percentage of the cost of the book will go into forming those scholarships.

*  The book is also meant to push for immigration reform and advocate for refugee families in the U.S. and around the world.  To this end Mafer aims to raise the funds necessary to put a copy of this book in the hands of every member of the U.S. Congress.

*  Mafer wants the voices of the children to be heard through their art.  To do this, Mafer is in very early conversations with several museums, including the Smithsonian, to have an exhibit of the actual drawings.  (The person from the Smithsonian who is in conversation with Mafer happens to be a graduate of Incarnate Word High School in San Antonio.)

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